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Archive for October, 2012

Regarding others…

A couple years ago I was working through the booklet “Pride & Humility” by Stuart Scott and in the course of this study and prayer time I journaled some reflections. I came across these journal entries today and was reflecting again on two thoughts that came about after reading Philippians 2:3-4, which says

Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

  • It says to regard others as “more important” not “more valuable”. For all our value comes from God and we are all valuable to Him! But importance has to do with our thoughts and priorities and how we spend our time and such! It’s not about self deprecation (our value) but putting others before ourselves in wants and priorities and the like…
  • It says “do not merely look out for your own personal interests.” It doesn’t say to neglect yourself (stewardship of the body and the like) or ignore your interests (perhaps stewardship of your abilities and call).
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    In our ladies’ Bible study we are going through the All Of Your Wonderful Deeds book in the A New Song series. Each week takes five days walking through a Psalm with a different author. Week 2 was on Psalm 18 and the daily devotional thoughts were written by Lisa Hahn. So far I have connected most with this Psalm and this week. I highlighted many lines and segments and typed them up to share with a friend who has much in common with me. Then I thought I’d include them here so I could remind myself of them and share them with all of you. 

    Monday: God’s Daughter (v. 1-12)

    • “He is a Father who loves us perfectly, who is with us 24/7, and who knows us and meets even our most specific needs. David calls Him our Rock, our Deliverer, our Shield, our Stronghold, and the Horn of our salvation. So we are the Rock’s daughters – children of the Fortress.”
    • “God’s perfect love always has perfect results.”
    • “Sin and Satan do not go down easily, nor do our sinful natures.”
    • “When we honestly confront our sin, we realize we cannot save ourselves. So when our cry fro help reaches our heavenly Father’s ears, creation reels and rocks (v. 7). As God comes to rescue us, the psalmist gives us a picture of smoke, fire, hail, and earthquakes (vv. 7-12). In other words, to conquer this enemy, it takes much more power than you or I will ever have! Have you ever tried to rescue yourself with self-help books, denial, putting up a great facade, or sheer willpower?”
    Tuesday: Just Like Nell (v. 13-19)
    • “Or we may buy into the lie that we really do have our sin in check, that it’s not all that bad, and that we can fight our own battles.”
    • “Although from toddlerhood we encourage self-reliance with applause for ‘I did it all by myself’ accomplishments and we all like a pat on the back for a job well done, we are far from being self sufficient – especially when it comes to defeating our sin.”
    • “In our psalm, we have an awesome picture of God’s power and wrath against our enemy. God’s righteous anger causes creation to erupt with fury. And we have the vivid picture of God scooping us out of harm’s way and drawing us up to safety. Notice that we do nothing. We are completely passive in this rescue operation. God gathers us to Himself so He can manifest His glory.”
    Wednesday: His Way Is Perfect (v. 20-30)
    • “By simply being Noah’s mom, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was doing something right after all.” (Emphasis mine)
    • “Yesterday, we read that God placed us in a broad or spacious place (v. 19). We have a big realm in which to serve Him in our homes, communities, workplaces and churches. David served God by ruling over Israel. God reduced him from his enemies for that specific purpose… So, when David experienced uncertainty, he still knew that God was working in his life to bring about what He had promised.”
    • “When doubting my worth or direction in life, His perfect wisdom calls me back to where I am today.”
    • “Someday, my callings may change, but for now I will keep an eye out for all the little opportunities for service that God carefully weaves into my days. I thank Him that He doesn’t change, that His promises are intact no matter how I feel, and that He has plans to use me despite my imperfections. His way is perfect, and I look forward to serving Him today!”
    Thursday: Ready For Battle (v. 31-42)
    • “Not only are lists helpful for forgetful types such as myself, but they also provide a sense of security and satisfaction as I cross of that final item, knowing that my preparations for wherever I am going or for whatever I am doing are complete.”
    • “God gives us quite a list in our Bible reading for today. It reads as a list of what He does or what He is for us as we travel through each day. It is a list of things that prepare us for our trip out into the world or around our homes each morning. He is our shield. He is our rocky. He arms us with strength. He makes our way perfect. He makes our feet like a deer’s. He enables us to stand. He trains our hands. He gives us a shield of victory. He broadens our path. We are certainly well-equipped each day!”
    • “We often don’t want to take time to be properly equipped for our daily battles. We wake up and follow our route in, too often ignoring the list of things that would add to the strength God already proves for us.”
    • “The list of things He does for us in no way depends upon the list of things we do.”
    Friday: Valued Forever (v. 43-50)
    • “I think that either we are taught or we choose what to value. If we hear someone we respect singing the praise of a particular object, we value it more.”
    • “Giving glory to God showed clearly what David valued –  not his own glory or strength, but that of the God he praised.”
    • “God valued David not because of the great things he accomplished. Rather, God chose to value David…” (emphasis mine)

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    So my friend and I keep having these conversations about how we struggle with things that take time or only improve in small increments. Healing, spiritual growth, relationships, adjustments, conflicts, learning and even tackling to-do lists all take time. They are not instant.

    “Tiāntiān shàng shàng.” We remind one another. Or, rather, she reminds me. I still have to look the words up every time to remember what they are. I usually say “every day on” or “continual progression” instead…

    But the point is, we must constantly remind and encourage one another in this. In various aspects of our lives. Including growing closer to God and becoming more like Christ. We both have this tendency to want to have it all fixed or figured out from the moment God begins to show us something new.

    Which is probably why the sixth word in today’s lectio grabbed my attention so.

    Today we read from Acts 10:17-23.

    It’s part of the story of Peter and Cornelius.

    Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.”  So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

    The sixth word?

    Perplexed.

    Peter was perplexed.

    God had just given him a vision of a huge smorgasbord of clean and unclean food on a sheet which had been lowered from heaven and which he was instructed – but didn’t want – to eat. (You can read that part of the story here.)

    And Peter was perplexed.

    He didn’t get it at first.

    Verse 19 lets us know he was reflecting on the vision.

    God was showing him something. Something new, something good, something profound… and I think Peter knew that. But he didn’t fully get it.

    It wasn’t instant.

    The full revelation and ramifications took some time.

    Even when the Spirit told Peter to go with the visitors – without misgivings – it seems as though it doesn’t quite connect yet.

    But two days later (and in verses beyond today’s reading) Peter is in the house of Cornelius, the centurion, who is decidedly not a Jew. And in case you need reminded or never knew, it was not cool for Jews to enter the homes of or eat with Gentiles. Gentiles were unclean. It was simply not done. And when Peter comes in he says “God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.”

    He got it.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Then while Peter is sharing the good news with these “unclean” Gentiles, the Holy Spirit comes in upon them. Gentiles! Even before they were baptized! This becomes a moment that gets referred back to later in Acts… the ramifications of Peter’s vision and God including Gentiles in His salvation story continue on.

    Continue on.

    Continual progression.

    Tiāntiān shàng shàng.

    It’s okay that things aren’t instant.

    Really.

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    So it’s long after church and lunch and a nap and resting and I find myself in my room clearing off my desk from the books and binders and paperwork that got dumped there when we arrived home. I begin to clear it, piece by piece, putting everything into its place. I pick up today’s sermon notes and see what I had scribbled upon the side. Something Pastor Chris said. Something I wanted to remember. And before filing it away with the rest of my sermon notes, I open up Facebook and begin to type the lines. And as I type my thoughts come together and spill out afterwards, thoughts from earlier and thoughts from now and my very heart’s cry.

    And though such spilled thoughts now reside on Facebook, they seemed appropriate to record here, too. Here where I can stumble across them again and remember and relive and revive.

    Here:

    “More than we need physical healing, we need God. More than we need the touch of God, we need God himself.” ~ Pastor Christopher T. Little

    As much as I long for – yearn for – physical healing (and rightly so), I know this truth to be true.

    And day by day I see and count the movements and presence of God in my life and in the lives around me; these graces, this gifts. And I give thanks.

    Eucharisteo.

    Eucharisteo like the bread and wine and I thought of this during communion today.Communion and celebrating and remembering the sacrifice. By His stripes we are healed. Our God is Jehovah Rophe.

    And the grace and the thanksgiving and the joy are all tied together.

    And then the words of Kutless cut through my mind, “You are God, you are good; forever Faithful One, even if the healing doesn’t come” and I smile and I add “here on earth” to their chorus.

    Because healing will come in that Day. That Day with a capital D. Full healing. Wholeness that goes beyond *just* (yet includes) the physical, the emotional, the mental, the social, the spiritual.

    Healing in full. Rophe in full.

    Like Shalom in full.

    And so I groan in this tent and I yearn and I long and I give thanks and I praise and I look for and I see the heartbeat of God. The God who is God above all gods, who is from everlasting to everlasting, who is provider, who is master, who is healer.

    And my heart cries, “Yes, Lord!”

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